Inputting Negotiations on Farmer’s Rights at the ITPGRFA Governing Body

22 September 2022

In parallel to the 9th session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA, hereafter the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources) taking place in Delhi, India, from 19–24 September 2022, the Geneva Academy is contributing to the upcoming negotiations on farmers’ rights with a timely briefing paper.

Co-published with APBREBES, this contribution is a collective effort by a broad panel of renowned experts. In addition to Dr Christophe Golay and Dr Karine Peschard from the Geneva Academy, it includes Professor José Esquinas, former Secretary of the ITPGRFA, two former UN Special Rapporteurs on the Right to Food – Professors Hilal Elver and Olivier De Schutter – and the current one Professor Michael Fakhri.

Implementation of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources in Light of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants

The Briefing Paper explains how the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP) complements the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources and stresses the importance of taking UNDROP into consideration when implementing its article 9 on farmers’ rights.

It is the first of its kind that addresses the interface between the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources’ article 9 and UNDROP’s article 19 on the right to seeds.

As Dr Karine Peschard points out, ‘For too long, the implementation of Article 9 has been hindered by the contradictions in international regimes governing plant genetic resources. This paper shows how these contradictions must be resolved by giving primacy to human rights over intellectual property’.

Inputting Current Discussions

With this in mind, the briefing paper will be presented at a side event during the meeting of the Governing Body this week.

‘Our Briefing Paper will contribute to the talks around an options paper currently discussed by the Farmers’ Rights Working Group of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources’ Governing Body. We want to emphasize the need to provide options that implement article 9 of this international treaty in its entirety and in a way that upholds peasants’ rights, including their right to seeds’ explains Dr Christophe Golay.

As Dr Karine Peschard sums up, ‘the bottom line is that International human rights law can no longer be ignored in the implementation of this treaty. Current discussions are a unique occasion to ensure that this treaty and its implementation fully realize farmers’ right to seeds’.

Part of Larger Research on Peasants’ Rights

This Briefing Paper is part of the work conducted by the Geneva Academy to promote the implementation of the Rights of Peasants and of the Right to Seeds in Europe.

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